Who visits the window of my prison every day.
Welcome, pretty little stranger!
Welcome to my lone retreat!
Here, secure from every danger,
Hop about, and chirp, and eat.
Robin! How I envy thee,
Happy child of liberty!
Now though tyrant Winter, howling,
Shakes the world with tempests round;
Heaven above with vapours scowling,
Frost imprisons all the ground; –
Robin! What are these to thee?
Thou art blest with Liberty.
Though yon fair majestic River*
Mourns in solid icy chains;
Though yon flocks and cattle shiver,
On the desolated plains.
Robin! Thou art gay and free,
Happy in thy liberty.
Hunger never shall distress thee,
While my cates one crum afford;
Colds not cramps shall ne’er oppress thee;
Come and share my humble board.
Robin! Come and live with me,
Live – yet still at liberty.
Soon shall spring, in smiles and blushes,
Steal upon the blooming year;
Then, amid the’ enamoured blushes,
Thy sweet song shall warble clear; –
Then shall I too join, joined with thee,
Swell the hymn of liberty.
Should some rough unfeeling Dobbin,
In this iron-hearted age,
Seize thee on thy nest, my Robin!
And confine thee in a cage.
Then, poor Robin! Think of me,
Think – and sigh for liberty; –
Liberty, the brightest jewel
In the crown of earthly joys!
All sensations else are cruel,
All delights beside are toys.
None but captives – such as me –
Know the worth of liberty.
York Castle, Feb 2, 1795
* The Ouse.